Pedaling Through a Pandemic: What Next?

Are you wondering when this will end? Do you dream about getting outside and riding through the woods? Is riding a stationary bike or trainer getting to you? For most people who read this, the answer is yes. But, unless you live in the few areas that strictly prohibit outdoor activities, it’s healthy to get outside, just do it alone or with someone you co-habituate with.

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It seems now that each state is going to decide when business can open and which businesses can open. The medical profession thinks it’s too soon. Some say this is not going away and getting back to business, sort of speak, will hopefully help the herd build an immunity. I do not know what the answer is.
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What I do know is that sitting home, whether you’re working from home or not working at all and not getting any exercise in, is not good. A sedentary lifestyle breeds depression. You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to figure that out. Staying inside all the time is not good for the mind or the body.
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So, escape to the woods. Ride that patch of trail you’ve always seen but didn’t have the time to explore. Hike up that mountain near your hideaway and take a stroll around the neighborhood, just to get some sunlight and see where you live from a different perspective. Make sure you wear a face mask or cover, don some light gloves and cover the top of your water bottles.

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In hope you like my throwback photos

A few days ago, I was pedaling through the incredible state forest that I’m lucky enough to live less that a mile from. I couldn’t help but think how lucky I was to be sheltering in place, yet able to do the one activity that I love. I am riding way more now than this time in previous years. Don’t get me wrong, I wish this had never happened and I hope it ends very soon. But until it does, get out there and grab some vitamin D.

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Please remember to thank any employees in the medical field, first responders, delivery men, supermarket and pharmacy employees, restaurant employees, utility workers, plumbers, electricians and anyone that keeps showing up for work, so the rest of the world can self isolate. Do your part. Wear your mask and gloves when you must leave the house. Do not ride in groups or hang out with anyone that you do not live with. If everyone cooperates, we can slowly integrate back into society in the near future.

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – The Waiting

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Pedaling Through a Pandemic: Steady as She Goes

It’s been quite some time since I’ve pedaled through the old Boy Scout Camp off Five Mile Meadow Road. Closed since before I was born, this swath of forest sits between Five Mile and Rt. 739. The Pennsylvania DCNR purchased the property a few years back from a developer and in the last few years, they’ve removed every structure or any sign that a camp ever existed, annexing it into the Delaware State Forest.

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Since, the removal of materials, the old Jeep roads and walking paths have made some really nice mountain bike trails, from the road, out to the copper field, back through the camp and down the hill to Rock Hill Pond, a serene body of water, surrounded by a lush, green forest.

09855E40-51E5-4B4E-9108-3DE7437B113BI love incorporating the camp into a ride, usually at the end, just before I exit the woods and enter my community.  Recently, with the lake communities experiencing large summer like crowds, due to the pandemic, the camp area has seen lots of hikers and visitors, trying to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.

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You could park at the gate, right on Five Mile Meadow Road, across from Standing Stone Trail and hike in and have lunch by the lake, but you know I’m an advocate of pedaling in and seeing the entire swath of woods. There is even a parking lot, just off Rt. 739. The road from the lot leads up past the copper fields, past where the old bunk houses were, connecting to the main camp area. Check it out. Here’s some old pics from previous posts inside the camp, when a lot of the structures still stood.

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), Today – Gino Vannelli – Living Inside Myself

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Kona Honky Tonk: The Re-Build

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m trying to get some projects done around the house as well as some fun bike builds that are long overdue, while I have extra time that is usually spent commuting or traveling for work. Being lucky enough to work from home, I can squeeze in a few weekly rides and I’m making progress on the honey do list.

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To build up a Ritchey Breakaway frame that I was traveling with, I stripped the drivetrain, wheels and a few other bits from my Kona Honky Tonk. Being on the road for 3 out of every 4 weeks, I just did not have time to re-build the Tonk. I was always very fond of the way this bike, a 2012 model, accelerated, climbed and descended.
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I decided to use a 16 year old 9 speed drivetrain. Shimano 105 shifters and front and rear derailleurs. Both the left shifter and front derailleur are for a triple chainring setup. I modified it for a double, compact crankset. I went with a new SRAM Rival 50/34 crank and a SRAM 970 11-32 cassette with a KMC 9 speed chain. The mix of parts worked out extremely well.
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For the cockpit, I went with a Velo Orange Nouveau Randonneur Handlebar, Velo Orange Threadless Stem, Velo Orange Grand Cru Headset, a Velo Orange Grand Cru Zero Setback Seatpost and a Salsa Liplock Seatpost Binder, all in a silver finish.
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For the touch points, I went with a Brooks B17 Cambrium Saddle in tan. For now, black Cannondale bar tape, because that’s what I had in the garage. Some brown tape is in the works. Velo Orange Moderniste Stainless Steel bottle cages, Speedplay Zero Chromoly Pedals and an old Mavic Ksyrium SL Wheelset in silver, round out the build.
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Here’s a few more pics of this 4130 Chromoly steel steed with a steel fork.

 

Pedaling Through a Pandemic: Digging in For the Long Haul

If your anything like me, for the most part, your avoiding the daily news  like the plague. I’ve found that constant exposure to the negative, can be quite depressing. Although, living in the northeast with my roots in New York, I hear everyday about people I know that have the virus or who have passed away due to the virus.
I am, however, adjusting to the way we have to live, during these uncertain times. I’m having my food delivered from the supermarket, sanitize everything before bringing it in the house, wash my hands constantly and keeping away from anyone that does not live under the same roof.

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I usually work until the late afternoons, sneaking some yard work in at lunchtime, then outside for a ride or long walk, complete with face mask and gloves. At night, I’ve been working on a few projects, to keep from watching too much television.
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I stripped my Kona Honky Tonk down to the frame, to build up my Ritchey Breakaway.  All parts were switched over, except for handlebar, stem, seat post, brakes and headset. This frame received a 9 speed Shimano 105 drivetrain, Mavic Ksyrium SL wheelset and a new Brooks B17 Cambium saddle. Of course all new cables, housing and bar tape rounded out the build. I kept the Continental Grand Prix 23mm tires that were on the wheels for now.
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My rides have been a real uplifting experience. I’ve been reading that the trails and parks are full (the ones that are still open), but my little slice of heaven seems to be completely void of people. I can ride gravel roads and not worry about passing cars or trucks. Road rides are a little trickier, but I can get creative and pedal along an 8 mile loop a few times, without hitting the main roads.

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Please remember to thank any employees in the medical field, first responders, delivery men, supermarket and pharmacy employees, restaurant employees, utility workers, plumbers, electricians and anyone that keeps showing up for work, so the rest of the world can self isolate. Do your part. Wear your mask and gloves when you must leave the house. Do not ride in groups or hang out with anyone that you do not live with. Hopefully, if everyone cooperates, we can slowly integrate back into society in the near future.

BBDB5919-F62F-424E-AA5F-AA1A22186C9DWhat’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – The Police – Don’t Stand So Close To Me

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Pedaling Through a Pandemic: What We’ve Learned So Far

Ok, I have not been able to update this piece every week. Not because I cannot ride, but because my family lost our beloved Mom. Social distancing has made mourning difficult to say the least. Not being able to mourn with my siblings, was hard. But, I’ve learned just how strong my brothers and sister really are. All 3 are my heroes!
Everyone is suffering right now. The world has changed and will continue to change as we navigate through this. 
Sitting at home, I’ve been able to spend quality time with my family. I’ve even video chatted with my daughter, whose staying with my brother and her cousins each and every day. I’m taken aback by the generosity that is all around us. 
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Being fortunate enough to still be working (from home for the time being), I am able to get outside and turn the pedals a little. I prefer riding from my house to the gravel roads,  but an occasional road ride is in order as well. 
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In my last post, I mentioned riding with a friend. That has not happened since and won’t happen again until it is safe. Nasal droplets coming from a rider or runner can travel 4 times as far in the wind or slipstream compared with a person that is standing still. Besides, it sends a negative message to other people that cyclists are not practicing social distancing. Unless you live under the same roof, you should not ride together. I realize I might catch some negative comments to that statement, but if you really stop and thing about it, it makes sense. 

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What I have been happy to see is that people are still getting out there. As a matter of fact, IMBA has been reporting that trail systems across the country have been getting a lot more use. I think this is where I should say that riding with a mask is a good idea. Anytime your outside your home is a good time to wear a face covering, especially when your on a bike or on the trails. 


I thought about creating some sort of virtual challenge on strava to help pass the time and keep people riding, but decided against it, as this is not a good time to crash and go to the hospital. So, ride on, but be careful, they’ll be plenty of time to set PR’s and race your friends when life returns to the new normal. Stay healthy!